By Seth Eggert, Staff Writer
CONCORD, N.C. – For the third time this season, Kyle Busch won the Busch Pole Award in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series, taking the top spot at Charlotte Motor Speedway. With a lap of 191.836 mph, 28.149 seconds, Busch’s No. 18 M&M’s Red, White, & Blue Toyota Camry edged out Joey Logano for the pole in NASCAR’s longest race, the Coca-Cola 600.
Logano trailed Busch by 0.091 seconds after running a 191.218 mph lap. Busch’s Joe Gibbs Racing teammates Denny Hamlin and Erik Jones qualified third and fourth respectively. Logano’s Team Penske teammate, Brad Keselowski rounded out the top-five.
“Guys did a great job,” Busch said. “We weren’t very good in practice. We were off a little bit. You know we could only run a 70 and we ran it three times in a row and that wasn’t going to do it. That wasn’t going to be fast enough, so everybody went to work and did a really good job, so Adam (Stevens, crew chief) gave me a piece there that we could come out here and sit on the pole with and carry that Red White & Blue M&M’s Camry to the front so looking forward to keeping it there and having a great day on Sunday.”
This is Busch’s 30th career pole position and his third at Charlotte. He won the pole for this very race in 2008 and for the Charlotte playoff race in 2014.
Busch has yet to score a win in a points-paying race at Charlotte. It is the only track that he has yet to earn a points-paying win at. Despite this, Busch is the winningest active driver at Charlotte because of his success in the Xfinity Series and the Truck Series.
Other notables included defending Series Champion Martin Truex, Jr. failing to transfer out of Round 2 of qualifying, ending up 15th. Hendrick Motorsports had none of its cars inside the top-20 with Alex Bowman failing to transfer out of the first round.
Kevin Harvick failed to attempt a qualifying lap after failing pre-qualifying technical inspection. As a result, Harvick’s car chief, Robert ‘Cheddar’ Smith has been ejected from the track, and Harvick’s No. 4 Busch Beer Ford Fusion will serve a 30-minute penalty in practice on Saturday.